A former college instructor was recently arrested in Maryland in a fraud investigation that involved falsifying degrees, military experience and other personal information, TBD.com reported. Bill Hillar has been teaching, giving seminars, speaking and training for at least a decade, according to his fabricated biography.
Hilal teaches drug trafficking, human trafficking and other college summer courses to hundreds of students at Middlebury College. When veterans in Hilal's class questioned his qualifications as a retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel and doctoral degree holder, an investigation was launched, saying he did not exhibit the demeanour of a senior officer.
When Middlebury tried to verify his credentials, they found he did not have a doctorate. His military experience, he claimed, had been greatly exaggerated. In fact, he served in the Coast Guard for eight years, but did not serve anywhere, held no position, or perform any of the duties he claimed.
A university official told the FBI that she hired Hilal based on his resume and website biography, and that no background check was conducted because he was not an official employee.
Middlebury's mistake was a very common one, not just in institutions of higher education, but in organisations across the board - not doing background checks on temporary workers.
Even organizations with extensive background check programs often overlook this major security breach in favor of screening consultants, contractors, partner and supplier employees, and temporary workers. However, these workers can pose considerable risk to the organization -- as they can hold highly responsible positions and have access to people, facilities, and sensitive data.
Best practice is to ensure that background screening policies cover temporary workers to avoid security and operational responsibilities. With a background check on Hillar, including education and employment verification, the incident would likely have been prevented.
The organization shall apply the same background screening procedures and requirements to all employees, including contractors, consultants and supplier employees. Background check requirements should be specified in the contract and implemented and enforced through regular audits.